The quantum levitation videos I showed you a couple months ago are pretty cool, but scientists scienticiens at the Japan Institute of Science and Technology have upped the game by using QL CGI to build a real-world Wipeout track.
Say it with me: science!! Also, do Rainbow Road next! (via ★interesting)
Update: Say it with me: advertising! Or some other such nonsense. Several people have alerted me that this video is a fake...you can see vapor trails passing through walls, etc. Boo. Boo-urns. (thx, all)
What the what? This video gives a little more explanation into the effect at work here (superconductivity + quantum trapping of the magnetic field in quantum flux tubes) and an awesome demonstration of a crude rail system. You can almost hear your tiny mind explode when the "train" goes upside-down.
Rieper and co ask what happens to these oscillations, or phonons as physicists call them, when the base pairs are stacked in a double helix.
Phonons are quantum objects, meaning they can exist in a superposition of states and become entangled, just like other quantum objects.
To start with, Rieper and co imagine the helix without any effect from outside heat. "Clearly the chain of coupled harmonic oscillators is entangled at zero temperature," they say. They then go on to show that the entanglement can also exist at room temperature.
That's possible because phonons have a wavelength which is similar in size to a DNA helix and this allows standing waves to form, a phenomenon known as phonon trapping. When this happens, the phonons cannot easily escape. A similar kind of phonon trapping is known to cause problems in silicon structures of the same size.
A team of scientists has succeeded in putting an object large enough to be visible to the naked eye into a mixed quantum state of moving and not moving.
Wait, what? Like, WHAT? Ok, let's start over:
Andrew Cleland at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his team cooled a tiny metal paddle until it reached its quantum mechanical 'ground state' -- the lowest-energy state permitted by quantum mechanics. They then used the weird rules of quantum mechanics to simultaneously set the paddle moving while leaving it standing still.
The fuck? In my day, we were taught, with the help of non-graphing calculators and paper notebooks, that quantum mechanics was a lot of wand-wavey nonsense about wave/particle duality that you never had to worry about because it belonged to some magical tiny land that no one visits with their actual eyes. This...this is straight-up magic. [Cue Final Countdown]
The evidence comes from a study of how energy travels across the light-harvesting molecules involved in photosynthesis. The work has culminated this week in the extraordinary announcement that these molecules in a marine alga may exploit quantum processes at room temperature to transfer energy without loss. Physicists had previously ruled out quantum processes, arguing that they could not persist for long enough at such temperatures to achieve anything useful.
The reality in question -- admittedly rather a small part of the universe -- was the polarisation of pairs of photons, the particles of which light is made. The state of one of these photons was inextricably linked with that of the other through a process known as quantum entanglement. The polarised photons were able to take the place of the particle and the antiparticle in Dr Hardy's thought experiment because they obey the same quantum-mechanical rules. Dr Yokota (and also Drs Lundeen and Steinberg) managed to observe them without looking, as it were, by not gathering enough information from any one interaction to draw a conclusion, and then pooling these partial results so that the total became meaningful.
That's a relief, although the head of one of the group called their results "preposterous", so perhaps we're still not really here.
On the basis of their measurements, the team concluded that if the photons had communicated, they must have done so at least 100,000 times faster than the speed of light -- something nearly all physicists thought would be impossible. In other words, these photons cannot know about each other through any sort of normal exchange of information.